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Utah Utes football notebook: Kyle Whittingham says his Utes are getting better

SHARE Utah Utes football notebook: Kyle Whittingham says his Utes are getting better
Kyle Whittingham

Kyle Whittingham

Keith Johnson, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's second-to-last double day of camp ended with threatening skies and a little lightning.

The weather, however, didn't put a damper on head coach Kyle Whittingham's assessment.

"It was a good day's work," he said. "Productive and the mistakes are getting fewer and fewer, which is what we are after."

The Utes are progressing through a busy week that includes three two-a-days, two scrimmages and single practice on Thursday.

With the Sept. 2 season opener against Pittsburgh approaching, the scrimmages are proving to be valuable measuring sticks. After reviewing tape of Tuesday's scrimmage, Whittingham was pleased with the progress he's seeing.

"It was a lot of improvement from scrimmage one to scrimmage two defensively," he said while noting that the number of missed tackles went from 18 to eight.

There were fewer big plays, Whittingham continued, and the defense did a better job of playing the deep ball.

The offense also drew praise. Whittingham said there was better execution, but still too many penalties. Something, he added, that needs to be cleaned up.

"But there was a big difference with what you saw on tape in scrimmage one and what we saw on tape yesterday," Whittingham said before expressing hope that Saturday's final camp scrimmage will be even cleaner.

INJURY UPDATE: Fullback Shawn Asiata, who injured his knee in Tuesday's scrimmage, will likely be sidelined for a week or so. Several others, like wide receivers Sean Fitzgerald and Mo Lee, are expected to leave "The Pit" even sooner.

"Hopefully, knock on wood, we're starting to get over that injury hump," Whittingham said. "We're starting to get more guys back now."

NEW ADDITION: Whittingham acknowledged that a competitive situation at wide receiver got even more competitive Wednesday. Dexter Ransom, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound transfer from Blinn Community College in Texas, joined the Utes for the afternoon practice. He wound up at Utah after originally committing to Arizona. A delay in Ransom's eligibility, however, led to the Wildcats running out of scholarships.

Whittingham noted that Ransom isn't in great shape and will be brought along slowly.

"It's going to be a process getting him integrated. It's not going to happen overnight. It's going to be bit by bit," he said. "He'll be ready to contribute against Pittsburgh in a limited capacity, barring setback."

Ute camp report

Day 12: The Utes practiced twice Wednesday — in the morning at Rice-Eccles Stadium and in the late afternoon, without pads, at Ute Field.

Standouts: Head coach Kyle Whittingham said wide receiver Reggie Dunn did some good things and that cornerback Lamar Chapman had another good practice. Whittingham noted that defensive tackle Sealver Siliga also continues to play well.

Injuries: Running back Shawn Asiata will be out for a week or so after injuring his knee in Tuesday's scrimmage.

Next up: The Utes have a two-hour practice scheduled for Thursday morning at the baseball field. All practices and scrimmages are closed to the public.

e-mail: dirk@desnews.com